What are the best classic French literary works?

asked by Anonymous
329 contributors
22 solutions
  1. 38

    #1Les Misérables

    Les Misérables
    Les Misérables is a French historical tale by Victor Hugo, which was published first in 1862. This novel follows the lives of several characters, especially that of Jean Valjean during the June Rebellion in Paris. 

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    Vincent Berry
    Written on April 23, 2018
    "And if you’re just making your way into this world, you may not even know where to begin.With hundreds of years’ worth of content to catch up on, taking the plunge and immersing yourself in the vast realm of classic French books can be overwhelming."
  2. 35

    #2The Little Prince

    The Little Prince

    The Little Prince is written by Antoine de Saint-Exupery about a prince who visited Earth from a tiny asteroid. It is known as a book for kids but it has been considered as an allegory of the author's wartime experiences. 


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    William Diaz
    Written on April 23, 2018
    "I don't know if it is the best, but, it is very good. This is a great read for all aged readers."
  3. 33

    #3The Three Musketeers

    The Three Musketeers
    The Three Musketeers is a classic novel by French writer Alexandre Dumas. It tells the story of D'Artaganan, a musketeer in training, and his friends Athos, Porthos, and Aramis. This book popularized the phrase "one for all and all for one."

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    Leonardo Quiroz
    Written on March 19, 2018
    "The legendary tale of three French fighters that take on the world together. Adapted into countless movies, it's one of most famous tales of all time. Reading the book that spawned all of the movies is just so much fun. Dumas writes in a very approachable and easy to follow manner."
  1. 31

    #4The Hunchback of Notre Dame

    The Hunchback of Notre Dame

    The Hunchback of Notre Dame is a classic novel by the acclaimed French writer, Victor Hugo. It tells the story of Quasimodo, a disfigured hunchback who rings the church bells at Notre Dame, and the gypsy Esmeralda who changes his life.


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    Debra Castillo
    Written on April 11, 2018
    "Great Novel to read!"
  2. 29

    #5The Phantom of the Opera

    The Phantom of the Opera
    The Phantom of the Opera is a gothic novel by the French writer Gaston Leroux. It tells the story of the deformed Erik, who haunts the Paris Garnier opera house, who then falls in love with the soprano singer Christine Daaé.

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    Liu Yang
    Written on April 1, 2018
    "A friend of mine keeps talking about this book. She goes on and on about it. So much so that I decided to buy the book.I did not really love the book but it's okay."
  3. 28

    #6Les Fleurs Du Mal

    Les Fleurs Du Mal

    Les Fleurs du Mal, or The Flowers of Evil, is a collection of poems by French poet Charles Baudelaire, translated from the original French by Richard Howard. The poems in the collection are considered to be his greatest work.


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    Judy Washington
    Written on March 22, 2018
    "For sure a classic of French literature. This translation isn't the best though."
  4. 26


    Candide is a satirical novel by Voltaire. It provides social criticism by telling the story of Candide, who delivers a blow against optimism in the face of life's hardships as he struggles to reunite with the love of his life.

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    Roy Fernandez
    Written on April 25, 2018
    "This story was just OK. Candide was not very relatable and the book gave off hard feelings. Not the type of thing I was really into. "
  5. 24

    #8Madame Bovary

    Madame Bovary
    This all-time literature classic tells the story of Emma Rouault, a young woman who marries Charles Bovary, a country doctor. Things don't go well for her, as she expected to live a life full of pleasures and luxuries, and not even giving birth to her own daughter made her excited about something. Everything changes when she meets Rodolphe, who will take her into a spiral of pain and suffering. 


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    Michael Franklin
    Written on April 22, 2018
    "A classic literature where nothing goes expected for poor Emma Rouault, who after marrying a doctor doesn't quite get to live in the lap of luxury as she expected. Its interesting yet tragic."
  6. 22

    #9The Count of Monte Cristo

    The Count of Monte Cristo
    The Count of Monte Cristo is written by French author Alexandre Dumas, which is about a man who wanted revenge against those who framed and jailed him for a crime he did not commit. 

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    Carl Ramos
    Written on May 7, 2018
    "One of Alexandre Dumas greatest works. In my opinion way better than The three musketeers. I really loved this book and have read this on more than one occasion. It tells a great story of jealousy and retribution and how vengeance can be a guiding factor in some ones life. I felt a sort of kinship with Edmond Dantès the protagonist in this novel. When he is thrown in prison, I was outraged, but loved the turn around in this. I highly recommend this book to everybody that enjoy revenge literature."
  7. 21

    #10The Lover

    The Lover

    The Lover is a sorrowful romantic novel by Marguerite Dumas about the interracial love affair between a French girl and a Chinese man in a time when French influence in Vietnam is weakening. This book won France's Prix Goncourt award.


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    Dylan Weaver
    Written on April 22, 2018
    "The Lover is a book that used to be my mom's but I somehow ended up with it and I remember reading it as a kid. It is a good book and has all the great elements like mystery and romance that make a book great for reading alone."
  8. 13



    Tartuffe is a satirical book by Molière. Originally published in 1644, Tartuffe is translated by Martin Sorrell and was banned for five years in the Molière's day. The book was deemed satirical for its views on religious hypocrisy.


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    Ankita Sengupta
    Written on May 18, 2018
    "This is a perfect example of a classic French novel. It's highly rated on Amazon and fits the topic quite nicely. Everyone interested in classic French literature should read this work of art."
  9. 6

    #12L'Avare (French Edition)

    L'Avare (French Edition)

    L'Avare is a five-act theatrical comedy in prose written by Molière. Originally published in 1668, L'Avare (The Miser) was first performed in 1668 at the theatre of the Palais-Royal in Paris.


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    Bobby Simmons
    Written on May 15, 2018
    "What a classic! I have read this literary work cover to cover several times, and I can't wait to go back and do it again. Such a rich, interesting, and uniquely funny play. Anyone interested in the classics should start right here."
  10. 1

    #13Cyrano De Bergerac

    Cyrano De Bergerac

    Cyrano de Bergerac is a play by Edmond Rostand. The play is loosely biographical, based on the life of the French author, Savinien Cyrano de Bergerac. Set in 17th century Paris, the play is about the struggles of a man with a large nose.


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    Amanda Holmes
    Written on March 15, 2018
    "I have never read this book and i don't know and French literary works."
  11. 0



    L'Immortel is a French humorous fiction written by Alphonse Daudet. This fiction novel is first published in 1888. 


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    Amanda Carter
    Written on April 25, 2018
    "L'Immortel is not what I would consider a classic French literary work. It is a modern day humorous fiction book. I read it and found it to be boring and filled with inaccuracies. Although the humor was there, it bordered on weird. I much prefer Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert. This is the best classic French literary work."
  12. 0

    #15Collected Works of Alphonse Daudet

    Collected Works of Alphonse Daudet

    Collected Works of Alphonse Daudet is a collection of short stories written by Alphonse Daudet. This classic French literature is first published in 1986. 


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    Mark Taylor
    Written on April 23, 2018
    "I'd recommend reading this author, but not necessarily buying this particular book. I'm having some difficulty finding out exactly what stories are included in here. It might be best to find a more popular collection of his work. Then, you can assure you are buying stories you have not read and that are considered to be interesting and worthwhile."
  13. 0

    #16L'Ecole des Femmes

    L'Ecole des Femmes

    L'École des Femmes is a theatrical comedy written by Molière. Originally published in 1663, the L'École des Femmes (The School for Wives) revolves around the characters of Arnolphe, Agnès, Horace, Alain, and Georgette.


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    Doris Hansen
    Written on May 11, 2018
    "If someone wanted to search for the best classic French literary works I believe there are places better than Amazon. It's pretty hard to specify classic French literary works. French *or* classic are possible though."
  14. 0

    #17La Vie de Saint-Louis

    La Vie de Saint-Louis

    La Vie de Saint-Louis is an English and French edition of the classic medieval French literary piece. This version is authored by Joinville and was released in September 2002. It is about the life of St. Louis.


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    Bobby Dean
    Written on May 10, 2018
    "Great book - a little on the long side so this may be subjective."
  15. 0

    #18Paris France

    Paris France
    Paris France is a French classic non-fiction biography book written by Gertrude Stein. This memoir is first published in 1940 by Peter Owen Publishers. 

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    Dylan Weaver
    Written on April 26, 2018
    "I wanted to read some classic French literature, and what I got here was a memoir occurring throughout the early 1900s, but almost entirely prior to the German occupation during World War 2, that shaped much of what modern France has become. It is an interesting insight into a time we can never re-live."
  16. 0

    #19City of Darkness, City of Light

    City of Darkness, City of Light

    City of Darkness, City of Light is a historical fiction book written by Marge Piercy which centers on Danton and Robespierre, along with actress Claire Lacombe and chocolate maker Pauline Léon.


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    Hannah Bowman
    Written on April 18, 2018
    "This book is fascinating. It gives you a sense of the history of this time but also tells a great story."
  17. 0

    #20Pierrot Mon Ami

    Pierrot Mon Ami

    Pierrot Mon Ami is a French literary fiction written by Raymond Queneau, translated by Barbara Wright, and an Afterword by Inez Hedges. First published in 1942, this book is published in 1989 by Dalkey Archive Press.


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    Shreya Yadav
    Written on April 4, 2018
    "I'm not a huge french literature fan so I can't really accurate label "the best" but I can say that the character development was phenomenal! The story was charming but also sad. It knew how to play on your emotions."
  18. 0



    L'Arlesienne is a French short story included in Letters From My Windmill written by Alphonse Daudet. It is first published in 1869. 


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    Sharon Johnson
    Written on April 12, 2018
    "I loved this solution. I think it is exactly what people is looking for in french literacy."
  19. 0

    #22Artists' Wives

    Artists' Wives

    Artists' Wives by is a fiction novel written by French author, Alphonse Daudet. This book was dedicated for the artists' wives and what they have to go through for their husbands and family.


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    Ai Jin
    Written on April 13, 2018
    "Artists' Wives is a funny, insightful little thing that focuses on the wife's thoughts and experiences as they put up with their artist husbands. It's a sort of flip-flop on what you would expect from a book and it's actually quite humorous as it is engaging. If you want a different perspective on things, this book certainly does that. I found myself quite into it."


Best What are the best classic French literary works
1Les MisérablesBooks 38 Paid
2The Little PrinceBooks 35 Paid
3The Three MusketeersBooks 33 Paid
4The Hunchback of Notre DameBooks 31 Paid
5The Phantom of the OperaBooks 29 Paid
6Les Fleurs Du MalBooks 28 Paid
7CandideBooks 26 Paid
8Madame BovaryBooks 24 Paid
9The Count of Monte CristoBooks 22 Free
10The LoverBooks 21 Paid

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